University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Language and Politics

What politics means is an open question, but there is no doubt that politics is meaningful. Politics and language are thus inseparable, and our faculty examine their relation in various and complementary ways. We study how language constructs our political and legal reality, as well as how it occasionally disrupts it. We study the use of framing in political communication, as well the politics of framing. We study the role of protests in the Middle East, as well as the impact of new media for the American democratic process. We bring insights from ordinary language philosophy to the project of an empirical social science, and we read classics of social science for new insights in the philosophy of language. We are open to students with diverse methodologies, backgrounds and interests, and are a generally likable bunch.


Paul M. Collins, Jr.

My research focuses on understanding bias and inequality in the legal system, the selection and work of judges, social movement litigation, and how people understand the law. 

I have published articles in the American Political Science Review, Journal of Law and Courts, Journal of Politics, Law & Social Inquiry,...Read more

Justin H. Gross Headshot

My research interests include U.S. and comparative ideologies, political communication in mass and social media, public opinion, and the intersection of identity and political beliefs. I have worked on methodological problems in measurement, text analysis, and network analysis, but I am especially interested in methods that put statistical and computational tools to use...Read more

I write about how violence becomes normal in societies that pride themselves on being civilized.  For my book every twelve seconds, I worked for nearly six months in an industrialized cattle slaughterhouse in Nebraska and used that experience to think about power and violence in modernity.  In 2020, every twelve seconds was...Read more

My research centers on judicial policymaking in American politics, with a particular interest in the power of courts in the American policymaking context, and the implications of according policymaking power to judicial institutions in a democratic political system. My work has appeared in The Journal of Politics, Political Research QuarterlyThe Journal of Law,...Read more

My subfield of specialization is comparative politics and my methodological areas of expertise are interviewing, working with concepts, and interpretivism. Substantively, I study the meaning of democracy, the practice of voting, and the administration of elections. Read more